How Is Liability Determined in Multi-Vehicle Accidents in California?
December 14, 2023
Determining liability in multi-vehicle car accidents in California can be complex, as it involves analyzing the actions of each driver and determining how these actions contributed to the accident. Here’s a general overview of the process:
Negligence Law: California follows a “pure comparative negligence” system. This means that a party can recover damages even if they are 99% at fault, although their recovery is reduced by their percentage of fault.
Police Reports: The police report is a crucial piece of evidence, as it contains the officer’s observations and sometimes a determination of who was at fault.
Eyewitness Testimony: Statements from people who saw the accident can be critical in determining what happened.
Physical Evidence: This includes vehicle damage, skid marks, and any other physical evidence from the accident scene.
Role of Insurance Companies: Each driver’s insurance company will conduct its own investigation to determine liability. They will examine the police report, statements from their insured, statements from other drivers, and any other available evidence.
Determining Fault: Liability is typically allocated based on who was negligent. For example:
Rear-End Collisions: Often, the driver who rear-ends another vehicle is considered at fault, but this can change if multiple vehicles are involved or if other factors like sudden stops or mechanical failures play a role.
Chain Reaction Accidents: In chain reaction accidents, determining fault can be more complex. It may involve piecing together how each collision occurred within the chain.
Legal Proceedings: If the parties cannot agree on liability, the matter may go to court, where a judge or jury will determine fault based on the evidence presented.
Comparative Fault: In some cases, multiple drivers may share the liability. For example, one driver might be found 70% at fault for speeding, while another might be 30% at fault for failing to signal a turn.
California Vehicle Code: Violations of traffic laws, as outlined in the California Vehicle Code, can also play a role in determining fault. For instance, if a driver was violating a traffic law at the time of the accident, this may be considered evidence of negligence.
Contact Avian Law Group Today
It’s important for individuals involved in a multi-vehicle accident to consult with an experience attorney who can help navigate these complexities and work to protect their rights. Legal professionals can provide more specific advice based on the details of the case. Reach out to us today for your FREE consultation and we will point you in the right direction.
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